Preserving our City in the Forest

When asked what people love about Atlanta, many say they love the trees. In spite of our city’s urban sprawl there are still pockets of intact, old-growth Piedmont forests throughout the region – our tree canopy coverage in the City is nearly 48% (2008). But unfortunately, in the current climate of rapid, high-density development, trees are often an afterthought. Some developers regard tree-saving measures as inconvenient and replanting requirements as a nuisance; rarely do the quality, quantity, and type of trees replanted match those trees lost to site clearance and construction. Developers pay recompense fees into the City’s tree fund for tree removal. As newcomers flock to Atlanta, we cannot afford to let this laissez-faire tree culture prevail, or we will certainly lose our most valuable natural asset and sacrifice our civic identity. It is not too late to prevent that from happening, but it will require us to pay attention, demand more creativity of the development community, and strive for excellence in our tree and zoning ordinances. Continue reading

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A Connected City for All

Rob headshot professional - 2014.07.28

Rob Brawner serves as the Executive Director of the Atlanta BeltLine Partnership, the nonprofit organization that enables the Atlanta BeltLine project by raising private and philanthropic funds, engages the public through programming and outreach, and empowers the residents of the 45 Atlanta BeltLine neighborhoods through targeted partnerships in the areas of health, housing and economic opportunity. Continue reading

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The Importance of Purposeful Wandering

By Michael Halicki, Executive Director of Park Pride

“No, I can’t say as I ever was lost, but once I was bewildered pretty bad for three days.” – Daniel Boone

leaf

 This month, Park Pride unveiled a new website. This website has been a long time in the making. In fact, going back to my first days at Park Pride, one of the first things on my “to do” list was an overhaul of the website. When we set down to it, I had hoped we could develop a new strategic plan and a new website at the same time. But, as we got into the throes of strategic planning, we found that there were substantive issues regarding our direction that made a website redesign premature. Before building a new website, we needed to clarify who we were as an organization and where we were going. During this time, we spent a fair amount of time gathering information and assessing different directions. We needed to find our way and we weren’t entirely sure where we were going. Continue reading

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Room on the Boat for Everyone

Deron Davis, Executive Director, The Nature Conservancy in Georgia

Deron Davis (c) Alex Arnett

By Deron Davis, Executive Director, The Nature Conservancy in Georgia

No photo, no video, no poem can ever do the Altamaha River justice. I can tell you that this southeast Georgia river that flows to the Atlantic Ocean is wide, that its water is the color of sweet tea, that ancient cypress trees stand guard at the river’s edge. But until you’ve seen it yourself from a boat, those details are just words. Continue reading

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The Atlanta BeltLine Arboretum: Urban Inspiration

Last week almost 150 people attended Trees Atlanta’s first Atlanta Canopy Conference.  The key theme for this inaugural conference was the importance of preserving Atlanta’s canopy (currently calculated as 48% city-wide) and the importance of arboreta, especially as inspiration to urban dwellers about how they might support and improve the canopy in their own neighborhoods. Continue reading

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Connecting Atlanta Is The Atlanta Way

Keith Parker

Keith Parker

Keith T. Parker, AICP, is the General Manager and Chief Executive Officer of the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA).

A recent article in the New York Times, “A Glorified Sidewalk, and the Path to Transform Atlanta,” brought a national perspective to the excitement generated by Atlanta’s BeltLine. The article stated, “It’s the most important rail-transit project that’s been proposed in the country, possibly in the world,” said Christopher B. Leinberger of the George Washington University School of Business, who follows urban redesign projects and has for years called Atlanta “the poster child of sprawl.” With a portion of the BeltLine now complete, the article captured Atlanta’s enthusiasm and civic pride in a city that is coming together both figuratively and literally. MARTA hopes to be able to make that connectivity happen faster than ever before. Continue reading

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Volunteer Service and the Benefits of Employee Engagement

John Ahern, Park Pride's Volunteer Manager, carries an erosion-control wattle.

John Ahern, Park Pride’s Volunteer Manager

By John Ahern, Park Pride’s Volunteer Manager

There are so many signs that fall is upon us. The football, the cooler weather, and even some leaves starting to drop from Atlanta’s excellent tree canopy. But for me, the most obvious signifier is hosting more and more volunteers in parks who are giving back to their communities.   Continue reading

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Victory in an Upstream Battle

Deron Davis, Executive Director, The Nature Conservancy in Georgia

Deron Davis, Executive Director, The Nature Conservancy in Georgia

By Deron Davis, Executive Director, The Nature Conservancy in Georgia

Around our office last week, we tried to hold onto the last days of summer by trading stories of Labor Day weekend revelry. Did you go boating on Lake Allatoona? Camp next to cool streams in the Chattahoochee National Forest? Picnic at Amicalola Falls State Park? Continue reading

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Atlanta Canopy Conference

Greg Levine, Co- Executive Director & Chief Program Officer, Trees Atlanta

Greg Levine, Co- Executive Director & Chief Program Officer, Trees Atlanta

I grew up in a two parent, two teacher household.  My mother taught art, while my father taught social studies and math. Oddly enough, I don’t remember them badgering us to do our homework, but my father did regularly quiz his four children on our multiplication tables.  My mother was more about experiential learning, recruiting me to do work in the yard or help  staple yellow and white polka-dotted fabric to the dining room wall.  My parents’ home education “program” was more about every day experience, similar to how many of us learn at work. Continue reading

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Kaiser Permanente and the Atlanta BeltLine Partnership Invest in a Healthier Westside

Madelyn Adams, Director of Community Benefit for Kaiser Permanente of Georgia

Author Madelyn Adams

Madelyn R. Adams is director of Community Benefit for Kaiser Permanente of Georgia, a health care organization that provides health care and coverage to more than 290,000 metro Atlantans through 26 medical offices and a network of hospitals.

Exercise as a vital sign—that is health care industry lingo for considering the time a person spends being physically active as a determinant of their overall health.

Your commitment to physical fitness may not rival that of the athletes fresh from gold medal wins in Rio. At Kaiser Permanente, our doctors believe knowing how often you summon your inner Usain Bolt for that afternoon run, find your center in yoga, or try to stroke Michael Phelps-style across the pool, is just as important as your heart rate and cholesterol level.

A healthy lifestyle can prevent, improve and cure myriad illnesses. As a nonprofit health plan, that is what motivates us to reach people beyond the exam room by investing in the communities our members call home. Last year alone, Kaiser Permanente of Georgia gave more than $42 million to support programs that increase access to health care, or promote healthy eating and active living in metro Atlanta.

One of the most visible and healthiest returns on our investment comes from the Atlanta BeltLine, a visionary undertaking to transform 22 miles of railway corridor encircling the city of Atlanta into transit, trails and parks—connecting communities along the way.  We gave $2.5 million to construct the Eastside Trail, which now draws more 1.3 million users annually, followed by a $2 million grant to develop the Westside Trail slated to open next year. Now, we are deepening our commitment even further with $500,000 in funding for the Westside Trail Community Health Grant Program.

Kaiser Permanent has invested significantly in construction of the Atlanta BeltLine Westside Trail, expected to open sometime in 2017.

Kaiser Permanent has invested significantly in construction of the Atlanta BeltLine Westside Trail, expected to open sometime in 2017.

A joint effort by the Atlanta BeltLine Partnership and Kaiser Permanente of Georgia, the Westside Trail Community Health Grant Program aims to provide funding for nonprofit organizations interested in offering innovative programs that improve health outcomes for those living along this stretch of the Atlanta BeltLine. It is our shared vision that the Westside Trail transform not only the landscape of these neighborhoods, but also the quality of life for residents.

We have identified 12 “impact neighborhoods,” including Adair Park, the West End and Mozley Park, where these dollars can be used to develop creative programming that promotes physical activity, draws residents to the Westside Trail and helps build a buzz about the Atlanta BeltLine.

The grant program will support a maximum of 10 initiatives, with most recipients receiving a one-time grant of up to $30,000. However, three programs could receive larger grants that provide up to $100,000 in funding over a two-year period. We encourage organizations that share our commitment to creating healthier communities to submit applications this fall and take advantage of tools, such as informational webinars, to help guide them through the application process.  

KP Corporate Challenge

KP Corporate Challenge

At Kaiser Permanente, we pride ourselves in being a true partner in health—for both our members and the broader communities we serve. Whether it is helping propel the work of the Atlanta BeltLine Partnership or bringing metro Atlanta’s workforce together for our signature Corporate Run/Walk and Fitness Program, helping people thrive drives everything we do.

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